ThinkForce said Dec. 18 that it raised 450 million Chinese yuan ($68 million) in a series A funding round. YITU Tech, Yunfeng Fund, Sequoia Capital and Hillhouse Capital participated in the round. ThinkForce, of Shanghai, specializes in artificial intelligence semiconductor chips.
SHANGHAI, Dec. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ThinkForce, a Shanghai-headquartered startup company specializing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) semiconductor chips, announced the raise of RMB 450 million in Series A funding. YITU Tech, Yunfeng Fund, Sequoia Capital and Hillhouse Capital participated in the fund raised.
AI chips have become an important area of focus in the industry and have attracted venture capitalists across the world. YITU Tech’s strategic investment on ThinkForce showcased YITU’s commitment to developing an AI ecosystem.
ThinkForce is staffed by a strong technical team to ensure successful integration of technology and industrialization
As one of the leading startup companies in AI Chip R&D and manufacturing, ThinkForce possess world-class talents with years of experience not only in management, as well as technical and product development capability. In fact, the core members of the team were directly responsible for some of the most successful semiconductor chipset launches that can be found in products such as the IBM PowerPC, Sony PS3, Microsoft XBOX and the world’s fastest 56G Serdes, etc., resulted in billions of USD sales. With a proven track record, ThinkForce is posed to lead the way in the development and advancement of AI Chips.
ThinkForce plans to launch its AI chip based on the industry leading semiconductor process technology, “ManyCore” architecture. Developed in-house by ThinkForce, it helps to complete and optimize the AI cloud virtualization scheduling during the chip-level implementation. Furthermore, when combined with self-developed firmware and TFDL software SDK, “ManyCore” can accelerate computation for various neural network models. Currently, the efficiency of ThinkForce accelerators is between 90% and 95%. When compared with Nvidia mainstream computing card, it is over five times more efficient in power consumption and cost savings. With extensive experience in silicon development, ThinkForce is also able to minimize the risk of production error while optimizing the chip’s performance and power consumption.
Additionally, ThinkForce has now partnered with industry leaders including IBM and Cadence.
AI era is the “Intelligent algorithm in the chip” era
While the development of AI chips is still in its infancy, the complexity and momentum in technology innovation will continue to generate breakthroughs constantly.
“The AI era is the Intelligent algorithm in the chip era”, said Zhang Zhenning, vice president of marketing at ThinkForce. An AI chip includes the architecture of an AI algorithm model calculation and the design to schedule the calculation. As a leading company with tremendous expertise in the area of cloud computing, YITU Tech will definitely help Thinkforce to strengthen its industry competitiveness through the strategic partnership.
As capital investment on AI is on the rise, YITU Tech has also been quite active in terms of investments and activities. YITU Tech has recently engaged in a joint investment with IDG Capital in AccutarBio, an international pharmaceutical company. This is one of the largest investments in the AI pharmaceutical field in China thus far.
“Our collaboration with ThinkForce is a strong statement of our pure interest and enthusiasm for cutting-edge technologies and scientific researches in the AI sector. We believe that Thinkforce’s talented team and its years of experience and reputation in this field will create multiplier effects and improve efficiency during our common exploration in AI technologies. We are facing global competition in the making of AI chips, and we need a strategic plan domestically in China in order to stay abreast. We believe ThinkForce will contribute to the growth and prosperity of China’s overall AI strategy initiative”, said Jiao Hui Ru, director of technology strategy at YITU Tech.
Shanghai ThinkForce Electronic Technology Co. Ltd is founded by experts from silicon design, software algorithm and system development in 2017. We aspire to provide world class intelligent semiconductors with leading AI algorithms and most advanced silicon art, upon which we build AI hardware platform and offer turn-key industry solution. By cooperating with vertical industry leaders, we will jointly build the eco-system and the future of AI. With the support from our business partners and top VCs, we will offer the most intelligent calculation power with our product roadmap.
About YITU Technology
YITU Technology (YITU) is a pioneer in practical artificial intelligence (AI) research and innovation that provides advanced AI-based business solutions to build a safer, better and healthier world. YITU boasts a world-class R&D team that drives industrial development to find comprehensive solutions in the areas of machine vision, speech and language understanding.